Half of the Americans begin their educational path in biennial colleges. By the way, many famous personalities attended two-year colleges, among them: Steve Jobs, George Lucas, and Tom Hanks. Outside the USA, two-year colleges are also gaining popularity, because the number of foreign students choosing to study in them is constantly growing. In a two-year college, you can get an associate’s degree corresponding to the qualifications of a junior bachelor.
What is the secret to the popularity of two-year colleges?
- First of all, the low cost of training, which starts with several thousand dollars a year. Compared to regular colleges and universities, they are usually at least half the price. In addition, some of them offer scholarships for admission from five hundred to several thousand dollars! Therefore, always ask about such an opportunity.
- Enrolling in two-year colleges is quite simple. They were created with the aim of providing education to everyone, and therefore the criteria for admission are as simple as possible. Each college has its own requirements, but some of them do not require a motivational essay or ACT or SAT test results. In many colleges, documents are accepted until August or a month before the start of training.
- English language requirements are very flexible. Since the level of knowledge of the language, and at the same time scores on the TOEFL or IELTS tests, are not decisive for admission to college, it is quite possible to start training without knowing the language at all. How is this possible? Students who do not know the language well are first offered to take intensive English courses at college.
- Two-year colleges are distinguished by small classes, a priority on teaching and significant attention to students. The size of the study group is usually up to 20 students, allowing teachers to devote more time to each student. In these colleges, teachers are completely dedicated to teaching and do not require time for research; it provides students with opportunities for more personal communication with teachers. This is a great advantage for international students to more easily and quickly adapt to academic life in another country and learning a foreign language.
- The big advantage of two-year colleges is a direct connection with the local industry and a practical aspect in training, which can be a significant factor for those students who need to get specific skills in order to immediately apply them in real life.
- Although two-year colleges are known precisely for their associate degrees, some of them provide an opportunity to complete a secondary education course or even get a bachelor’s degree. Many colleges offer a wide range of certification programs of varying lengths.
- Two-year colleges have various student support services, helping them in every way to achieve their academic and personal goals, in particular for planning a future career and developing learning skills. Many of these services are designed specifically for international students. It is also important to note that although two-year colleges appeared to meet the learning needs of local communities, currently about 25% of them offer accommodation in their dormitories.
- After completing a two-year college, you will receive an additional year of work experience. Just like in four-year colleges, during the training, students have the opportunity to work on campus up to 20 hours a week or to practice (Curricular Practical Training). After graduating from an associate’s degree, graduates of two-year colleges have the opportunity to undergo “postgraduate” practice – Optional Practical Training for one year, and then continue their studies in the bachelor’s program. After graduation and obtaining a bachelor’s degree, graduates have the opportunity to undergo another practice. Thus, graduates of two-year colleges have a unique opportunity to undergo “postgraduate” practice twice.
- Typically, two-year colleges have arrangements with universities for the transfer of their graduates in a lightweight scheme, the so-called 2 + 2 transfer arrangements. Thus, students go to college for 2 years and get an associate degree, and then transfer to a 4-year university, where they already receive a bachelor’s degree. It should be noted that the requirements for a guaranteed transfer in many cases are minimal. Also, some colleges provide the opportunity to transfer to 4-year universities, where it is extremely difficult for foreign students to enroll, but as part of the transfer, studying in these prestigious educational institutions can become a reality. For example, California’s two-year colleges have special arrangements for transferring their students to the worldwide campuses of California state universities.
Still have questions? We invite you to visit EducationUSA centers so that our advisers will help you learn more about two-year colleges and choose the institution of higher education that can help develop your career.